Forgot Log-in or  Password? |  Help  Not a member, Register Now!
Play Fantasy The Most Award Winning Fantasy game with real time scoring, top expert analysis, custom settings, and more. Play Now
      
Fantasy Football Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Gameday Inactives
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Get Your Draft Board
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Red Zone Stats
Teams
Schedules
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Playoff Challenge
Commissioner
Prize Leagues
Free
Office Pool Manager
Game Pick'em
Player Challenge
Fantasy Baseball Today
2014 Draft Prep Guide
Downloadable Draft Kit
Mock Drafts
Player News
Stats
Players
Depth Charts
Roster Trends
Columns
Injury Report
Rankings
Projections
Teams
Schedules
Probable Pitchers
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injuries
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Message Boards
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
Downloadable Draft Kit
Player News
Stats
Players
Columns
Injury Report
Projections
Rankings
Teams
Schedules
Mock Drafts
Scores
Standings
Fantasy Games
Commissioner
Free
Prize Leagues
No Fantasy Teams Found
 
 
 

2011 Draft Prep: Thomas will be top rookie rusher

Senior Fantasy Writer
  •  

Mark Ingram is the best rookie running back coming into the season, and it's not close. He's the Fantasy running back to target from the 2011 draft class.

But Ingram might not finish the season as the best rookie running back. The prediction here is Daniel Thomas will be the best rookie rusher this year.

I know, call me crazy. Ingram has done nothing but solidify his standing with a solid preseason, while Thomas has looked lost. He's now No. 2 on the depth chart in Miami behind Reggie Bush, who was cast off in New Orleans to make room for Ingram.

But if you look at the scenarios that should happen, Thomas has the chance to be better than Ingram this year, and he's becoming a tremendous value pick on Draft Day. With Thomas, you just have to be patient.

That's something Dolphins coach Tony Sparano is learning about Thomas, who was drafted in the second round out of Kansas State. Thomas has struggled during the preseason and has failed to run with confidence. But Sparano said he's seen a difference with Thomas as the regular season gets closer.

"I think whenever he gets the ball a bunch he starts to get into a bit more lather," Sparano said. "He's been good the last couple of weeks. It was just in the beginning where it was overwhelming a little bit."

Thomas told me after the second preseason game against Carolina that the lockout hurt his development. But he said things are "starting to slow down a lot," and he's learning the offense and how to play his game. He was a star in college in racking up 2,850 total yards and 30 touchdowns the past two years with the Wildcats, and he said he gets better as his workload increases.

"I think it will be the same way here," Thomas said of his ability to produce. "It's just a good fit for me."

While Bush might open the season as the starter, it's unlikely he will have or maintain a featured role. He's not durable enough and he has just one 16-game season in his career – as a rookie in 2006. The most carries he had in a season was 157 in 2007.

Since then, Bush saw his carries decline to a career-low 36 last season. He will definitely improve on that since he was limited to just eight games in 2010, but Thomas will eventually emerge as the featured running back for the Dolphins. Even Sparano indicated a concern for Bush's workload.

"I really don't have a great grasp of what that number is yet with Reggie," Sparano said when asked about Bush's carries. "I kind of have to watch it, you know, particularly early when you really want to ride him early and get him going, and that's probably where I've got to watch him the most."

As for Ingram, it's difficult to predict a letdown, but there's a strong possibility he continues to share carries evenly with Pierre Thomas throughout the year. And when you factor in Darren Sproles, that's a three-headed backfield, meaning Ingram will unlikely be a featured running back as a rookie.

Follow us, Like us, Join us
Want more? Join the discussion on our Facebook page and Google+ and follow us on Twitter for additional insight while interacting with a community geared toward Fantasy Football.

He should work at the goal line – he has three touchdowns in the preseason – but he's only averaging 2.9 yards per carry. And there's this lingering knee swelling, which hopefully will go away.

Look, I'm not saying Ingram is going to be bad by any stretch. I have drafted him in as many leagues as possible because he will be an exceptional Fantasy option this year. I just wouldn't be surprised if Thomas is better by the end of the season, and I target him on Draft Day as well.

In looking at their Average Draft Position, you have to take Ingram first. Name recognition alone gets him drafted early since he won the Heisman Trophy and a national title at Alabama. He is being selected as the No. 25 running back at No. 55 overall in Round 5.

Thomas is being drafted as the No. 29 running back at No. 75 overall in Round 7. And, by comparison, Bush is being taken as the No. 32 running back at No. 92 overall in Round 8.

Something you might want to consider on Draft Day is taking Ingram as your No. 2 running back in Round 4 or 5 and then taking a chance on Thomas two or three rounds later as your No. 3 or 4 option. They could end up being great Fantasy running backs for your team.

This rookie running back class has fallen apart due to injuries to Mikel Leshoure (Achilles' tendon) and Ryan Williams (knee), and we might not see DeMarco Murray, Roy Helu, Stevan Ridley, Delone Carter or any of the other members of this rookie class have starring roles. But Ingram and Thomas should play at a high level.

And if things go the right way for Thomas, he could end up at the head of the class. He has the potential to pass Ingram for the No. 1 rookie spot this season.

Stay in touch with the most passionate Fantasy staff in the business by following us via Twitter @CBSFantasyFB . You can also follow Jamey at @JameyEisenberg and on Facebook .

Want an edge in your draft? Download the Fantasy Draft Kit App.

  •  
 
 
CBSSports Facebook Google Plus
COMMENTS
Conversation powered by Livefyre
 
 
Player News
Mike Jenkins out Saturday
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:39 pm ET) Buccaneers cornerback Mike Jenkins won't play Saturday against the Bills due to a hamstring injury, coach Lovie Smith told reporters.

Montee Ball 'doing a little bit more' each day
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:30 pm ET) Broncos running back Montee Ball "is doing a little bit more each day as he makes what might be a rapid return from an appendectomy, but much of his work remains outside of a team structure," reports CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora. Ball wore pads Wednesday and worked individually with quarterback Peyton Manning at one point.

"We will continue to upgrade that a little bit tomorrow," coach John Fox said. Ball could play in the fourth preseason game, La Canfora added.

Still a chance Emmanuel Sanders plays Saturday
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:17 pm ET) Broncos receiver Emmanuel Sanders has not yet been ruled out of Saturday's game against the Texans, reports CBS Sports NFL Insider Jason La Canfora. Sanders was "involved" in Wednesday's practice, but not in "live" settings, La Canfora wrote.

The free agent acquisition has been hampered by a quad injury for more than two weeks.


Rams waive/injured Isaiah Pead
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:09 pm ET) The Rams waived running back Isaiah Pead with an injury designation, reports ESPN's Adam Schefter. Pead tore his ACL in Saturday's preseason game with the Packers.

Zeke Motta not expected to play this year
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:07 pm ET) The Falcons put safety Zeke Motta on the reserve/PUP list to start the season, and he's not expected to play at all this year, reports ESPN.com. Motta is dealing with a serious neck issue.

Jason Hatcher to debut Saturday
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(4:01 pm ET) Redskins defensive end Jason Hatcher will make his preseason debut Saturday against the Ravens, reports CSNWashington.com. Hatcher had arthroscopic knee surgery in late June.

"He's fired up and ready to go," coach Jay Gruden said. "He looked good today."

Hatcher, 32, said he feels great and has his speed, quickness and strength back where it needs to be.


Cam Newton to play entire first half Friday
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3:48 pm ET) Panthers coach Ron Rivera said quarterback Cam Newton and the rest of the starters will play the entire first half Friday at New England, reports the Charlotte Observer. Newton played five series in Sunday's win over Kansas City.

Colts waive Phillip Tanner
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3:45 pm ET) The Colts waived running back Phillip Tanner to make room for newly-acquired running back David Fluellen.

Jadeveon Clowney leaves with apparent neck injury
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3:39 pm ET) Texans outside linebacker Jadeveon Clowney left Wednesday's joint practice with the Broncos with an apparent neck injury, reports ESPN. The severity of the injury was unclear.

Clowney was the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft and has made some eye-popping stops in the preseason.


Chris Polk has partially torn hamstring
by Larry Hartstein | CBSSports.com
(3:29 pm ET) Eagles running back Chris Polk missed the first two preseason games and won't play Thursday in the third due to a Grade 2 partial tear of his hamstring, reports CSNPhilly.com. Polk, who's worried about his roster spot, insists he'll practice next week.

The Eagles just traded for running back Kenjon Barner and also have Darren Sproles behind LeSean McCoy.


 
 
 
Rankings